Maybe The Best Thing from Karelia

There are lots of different pies that come from Karelia, but for some reason rice pies are called Karelian pies all over Finland. Karelian pies have a thin rye crust and rice porridge as filling. They’re usually served with egg-butter (mixture of boiled eggs and butter, seasoned with salt). Crust can be made from only rye flour, but adding some wheat flour makes it easier to handle. Dough is usually rolled with pulikka, but you can of course use regular rolling pin as well. Similar pies are also often made with mashed potatoes or carrot and rice as filling. Mashed potatoes are my favourite filling, but most people seem to prefer rice.

This recipe is from a cooking zine Trapped Under Slice #2. The recipe was already vegan, so we didn’t even have to substitute dairy products with similar vegan products. Despite the English name, the zine is written in Finnish and I’ve translated the recipe here. The zine also had a recipe for vegan “egg-butter”. I made some minor changes, and the recipe here is written as I made it. I haven’t seen kala namak anywhere, but I suppose it would be better than sea salt for this purpose.


Karelian Pies (20-30 pcs)

1 l unsweetened soy (or oat) milk
2 dl porridge rice
2 tbsp margarine

3 dl water
1 tsp salt
2 dl wheat flour
4-5 dl rye flour

for brushing:
margarine, soy milk

Make the filling first. Bring 2 dl soy milk to boil. Add the rice and simmer until the rice has absorbed the milk. Add the rest of the milk, bring to boil and simmer on low heat about 40 minutes or until your porridge looks ready. Stir often, because the milk burns easily! Add margarine and season with salt. Allow to cool.

The dough: combine water, salt and wheat flour in a bowl. Add enough rye flour to make a nice ball of dough. If you don’t start rolling the dough right away, you can wrap it in plastic wrap and keep in refrigerator.

Divide the dough in two. Wrap one half in plastic wrap to prevent drying. Take the other half and form a stick of it. Cut it in equal size pieces and form them into balls. Roll each ball into a flat oval or circle, use a lot of rye flour. Cover the circles with plastic so they don’t get too dry. Put a heaping tbsp of filling on each circle, spread it, but leave the edges empty. Fold the edges on the filling and pinch them with your fingers. Make pies of the other half of the dough same way.

Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and put the pies on it. They won’t rise or anything, so you don’t need to leave space between them. Bake in 275 Celsius degrees. Melt some margarine and add a little soy milk to it. Brush the baked pies with the mixture (or dip them in it) and cover with a towel. Serve with margarine or eggless spread.

Eggless Spread

125 g (half a package) tofu
1-2 tsp soy sauce
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 dl chickpeas
150 g margarine
sea salt

Crumble the tofu. Heat a little oil in a pan and fry the tofu several minutes. Turn off the heat and add soy sauce and basil. Allow to cool. Mash the chickpeas and combine with tofu mixture and margarine. Season with salt.



2 comments on “Maybe The Best Thing from Karelia

  1. Helen says:

    Nice work! I love pies and I love mashed potato: double yum.

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